I-TEAM: How toys from 3rd-party sites could hurt your child

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 7:31 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - This holiday shopping season might be a challenge for parents.

From game consoles to dolls, some toys are hard to find due to shipping delays and fewer imports coming into the U.S.

Shoppers are turning to third-party sellers to find those hard-to-get items. But as the I-TEAM warns, buying toys from third-party websites could endanger your child.

Emergency rooms across the U.S. reported more than 200,000 toy-related injuries in 2021. The U.S. government recalls toys that are unsafe for children. Even though it’s illegal to sell recalled toys, we found dangerous toys easily available to buy, some even for sale in Augusta.

We find an AFLAC duck collection for sale on Facebook Marketplace. For $50, you will get all 11. We found three of those 11 were recalled by the U.S. government in 2022.

The lifeguard and police ducks contain dangerous levels of a toxic chemical that can damage the brain and nervous system causing learning and behavioral problems.

The Fisherman duck contains high levels of lead, especially dangerous to young children.

The I-TEAM found a recalled Army toy set for sale on Amazon. The price was slashed by 40 percent by the third-party seller. We found it contains dangerously high levels of the same chemicals, phthalates, which can cause learning and behavioral problems in children.

The government recalls toys because of other risks too: like falls.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for the Blues Clues ride toy because a toddler could tip over the front and fall.

We found it for sale here in Augusta posted on Marketplace for $25 even though it’s illegal to sell recalled items.

In fact, the I-TEAM found Facebook marketplace is littered with recalled toys. Activity table, Forky from Toy Story was recalled due to a choking hazard.

According to this year’s Trouble in Toyland report put out by a non-profit group:

“In the fiscal year 2020, about half of CPSC’s takedown requests were made to Facebook marketplace. To date in FY22, that jumped to about 75 percent.”

In the past, merchants would improperly dispose of recalled toys by selling them to dollar stores, liquidation firms, and thrift shops. The problem now: the variety of websites.

The chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission even sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg this summer writing in part:

“We rely on companies like yours to monitor their own activities in the online marketplace and proactively take responsible steps to prevent sales of products known to be dangerous.”

To check whether toys you’re considering buying, or toys already in your home have been recalled, just check this link.